Quality of Life Lessons from Dogs and Horses

Animals Know How to Live

Horses don’t care about goals. Neither do dogs. Animals are simple. Nature is simple. Horses care about spirit, security, food, rest, play, and companionship. Horses are herd animals hard-wired by their Creator to seek relationship.

Dogs care about food, sleep, play, fellowship, and will happily interrupt their travel to investigate an interesting sound or odor. Dogs are pack animals hard-wired by their Creator to seek relationship.

Horses and dogs will literally stop to smell the roses. How else will they know if the blooms are edible or if someone they know passed by recently? Sniffing the environment is like checking the canine version of Facebook. Who’s been here? What did they do? Who did they do it with? Which way did they go?

Horses and dogs are outstanding power-nappers and often share a soft shady spot with a friend. Horses and dogs are far better at relationships than people. Dogs are beloved for their loyalty. Dogs will remain faithful to an undeserving owner, put up with little kids painfully tugging at ears or tails, and show grace and forgiveness even when it is undeserved.


Horses and dogs know what’s important. They aren’t conflicted. Horses and dogs don’t look at a half full water bucket and fret that half is gone. When thirsty they go to the water bucket and take a drink. They trust that the necessities of life will be provided.

Few things are as heart-breaking as an animal confined to a pen or kennel without clean water, adequate food, and someone to share it with. People aren’t perfect. Some aren’t even nice. But Christ anticipates every need and is faithful to provide. 

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” – Matthew 6:31-32

The blessing of relationship is the journey itself, not some imagined or mystical destination. And yet we want more. Always more. If there’s hay in your manger and water in your bucket, it’s time to look around for relationship. Usually hay and water are the product of relationship, a gift from someone who cares.

Enough is as Good as a Feast

Right relationship is enough, not the pursuit of more. People who don’t have enough, who keep pressing on for further gain, don’t realize that what they seek is relationship. No thing or material item can satisfy the hunger to belong; to love; to find security – to know God.

The measure of true success on your journey of life is determined more on direction than speed. What matters is where you’re going and with whom you travel, not how fast you’re clicking off the miles. When it comes to quality of life, horses and dogs are willing to share simple secrets of success with us. 

Are we willing to learn?



Read the full chapter “Enough is as Good as a Feast” in Discipleship with Horses – Journey of Joy. Just click on the book cover below for more information.
Available on Amazon. Kindle, Nook and paperback.

Available on Amazon. Kindle, Nook and paperback.

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